This Crocs Designer Is Banking on a High-Fashion Future for the Label

ByJohnie Turber

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The remarkable Crocs makeover—transitioning from an unpleasant gardening shoe, to becoming a cheeky higher-fashion favorite—began back again in 2016, when the brand marked its to start with fashion collaboration with designer Christopher Kane, who embellished its classic Clog silhouette with chunky mineral stones. “I try to remember asking Christopher, ‘Why do you want to associate with us?’” says Thornley. “And he mentioned, “I want to acquire something regular, and make it amazing.’” Because then, Crocs has continued to infiltrate the fashion place, collaborating with fashion homes like Balenciaga in 2017 and streetwear creatives like Salehe Bembury in 2021 (both partnerships are even now going). “We always look for companions who authentically connect with our model,” states Thornley. “One point that we have often heard from associates is that we do not acquire ourselves way too seriously—we’re normally up for executing a thing distinct.”

Balenciaga spring 2018

Photo: Marcus Tondo / set

Even though the Typical Clog however remains its most effective-seller globally—with its Basic Sandal and Vintage Slide designs doing nicely for the brand name, too—the label’s foray into the luxurious area has significantly to do with its partnership with Balenciaga, who has reinvented the Croc as platforms, rain boots, and even heels. “What I benefit so much about [the Balenciaga] partnership is how true the staff is,” suggests Thornley. “They preferred to worth what we do in the molded area, and they seriously wanted to stand for shade.” Their recurring Bembury collaboration on the Crocs Pollex, meanwhile, functions an eco-skeletal appear and continues to provide out. Re-sale pairs currently go for as much as $1,000, 10x the first price. “This sense of fandom that’s going on for the model has been tremendous gratifying,” states Thornley.

Crocs have even begun to get above the crimson carpet, much too. At the 2021 Oscars, DJ Questlove wore a pair of golden Crocs. Justin Bieber and Teyana Taylor have also the two worn the system Balenciaga Crocs this yr (Bieber at the Grammys, and Taylor the Billboard Awards). These have not been paid out placements. “That is a authentic and authentic relationship to the manufacturer,” claims Thornley. 

Teyana Taylor at the 2022 Billboard Awards in the Balenciaga CrocsPhoto: Getty Photographs

Justin Bieber at the 2022 Grammys in the Balenciaga CrocsPicture: Getty Photos

In addition to their buzzy times in the fashion and movie star areas, however, Thornley also needs to concentrate interest again on the in-house structure crew this calendar year. Inside the Crocs style and design studio, Thornley’s team operates as any other layout residence would: They maintain inspiration conferences, go over macro trends, and their excellent consumer. “We want a crew that feels like they can driv
e boundaries and support transfer the brand ahead,” states Thornley. 


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